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PHOTOS: The Great Pumpkin Has Risen

From delicate nature studies to fiberglass sculpture, pumpkins have a prominent place in the collections

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Spooky and historical, this Jack-o-Lantern was photographed by the J. Horace McFarland Company. Photoprint, 1906. Archives of American Gardens

A pumpkin is nothing more than a squash, but somehow like Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin, it has risen in fame, far beyond that of its cucurbita cousins. Why has the pumpkin become a Halloween favorite? One can only guess that its smooth surface makes just the right medium for happy face carvings or ghastly ghoulish gashes. But how has the simple vegetable been collected here at the Smithsonian? A host of images, some paintings, some sculptures, some very early photographs–even a daugerrotype. Hail to the mighty pumpkin and Happy Halloween from the Around the Mall blog team.

Still Life with Pumpkin, Book, and Sweet Potato. Daguerreotype, circa 1855. American Art Museum

Pumpkin Patch by Winslow Homer. Watercolor, 1878. American Art Museum

From the J. Horace McFarland Company. Photoprint, 1906. Archives of American Gardens

More from the J. Horace McFarland Company. Photoprint, 1906. Archives of American Gardens

Squash Blossom by Sophia L. Crownfield. Watercolor, early 20th century. National Design Museum

Pumpkins by Yayoi Kusama. Fiberglass, 2009. American Art Museum

 

 

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About Beth Py-Lieberman
Beth Py-Lieberman

Beth Py-Lieberman is the museums editor, covering exhibitions, events and happenings at the Smithsonian Institution. She has been a member of the Smithsonian team for more than two decades.

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